Cougar Crest Trail is also known as Bertha Peak Trail. This is a challenging trail in the Big Bear Lake area with commanding lake views.
The hike is about seven miles round trip and may take up to 4 hours to finish. It is considered moderate difficulty with a 720-foot elevation gain.
It starts from Cougar Crest trailhead near the Discovery Center. If you park at the trailhead, you will need an adventure pass. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the free parking at the center and walk to the trailhead. This will add 1-mile to your hike.
Tip: It is a rocky trail with some steep inclines. Make sure to wear hiking shoes and bring your hiking poles.
The Cougar Crest trail joins the Pacific Crest Trail at the 2.5-mile point and takes you to Bertha Peak.
Tip: In the summer it can get hot up in the mountains. Bring lots of water with you.
The trail is mostly shady at the beginning, with good tree cover, but the trees thin out towards the top. About halfway up, there is a conveniently located bench with a splendid view - a great place to rest and enjoy the sights.
Tip: In colder months, even without snow, the peak can get very cold and blustery. You will need a jacket. If add snow to the equation, the trail become treacherous.
When you reach the peak, you will have an unobstructed view of the mountains, valley, and lake below the Peak. Take a picnic, relax, and enjoy the view.
The trail is popular with mountain bikers, so watch out for runaway bikes.
The Cougar Crest Trail is a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains. It is a challenging hike, but the views are worth it.